Date
23 November 2017
A lawyer for Julian Assange (above) has played down his imminent departure from Ecuador's embassy in London unless Britain allows him to leave without being arrested. Photo: Reuters
A lawyer for Julian Assange (above) has played down his imminent departure from Ecuador's embassy in London unless Britain allows him to leave without being arrested. Photo: Reuters

Assange faces arrest if he leaves Ecuador’s UK embassy

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be arrested if he leaves Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has spent more than two years to avoid a sex assault investigation in Sweden, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Britain signaled its intentions after Assange told a press conference that he plans to leave the building soon.

But his spokesman played down an imminent departure, saying the British government would first need to allow him to leave the building without arrest.

The 43-year-old Australian fled to the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition for questioning in Sweden over sex assault and rape allegations. He has denied the claims.

Assange fears that if extradited to Sweden, he would be handed over to the United States, where he could be tried for one of the largest leaks of classified information in US history.

Assange would be arrested if he exited the Ecuadoran embassy because he has breached his British bail terms.

Britain’s Sky News earlier reported that Assange was considering leaving the embassy due to poor health.

In 2010, WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of confidential US documents that embarrassed the United States. The US government said the information put national security and people’s lives at risk.

Ecuador later granted Assange political asylum.

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RC/RA

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